What’s the Difference Between Biology and Health Sciences

What’s the difference between studying the two-chambered heart of the bristlenose catfish and studying the most effective nutrition education programs for the four-chambered versions belonging to us humans? It’s the difference between biology and health sciences!

Both are fascinating fields under the umbrella of the life sciences that help us to understand our world, and both can lead to a versatile range of careers. But let’s take a closer look at what makes them different—and what you can do with a BS in Health Sciences.

What Is Health Science?

Health science is a broad field that has a broad impact on our everyday health. Applying scientific principles from biology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and sociology to human health, health science looks at promoting physical and behavioral health and improving overall well-being, including the mental and social aspects of wellness.

While you may run into someone who works as a biologist, you won’t find many self-described health scientists. That’s because the health sciences encompass a wide range of specialties, from public health, where professionals monitor and address community health issues, to clinical fields that involve direct patient care.

Health Sciences vs. Biology: How Are They Different?

The main difference between biology and the health sciences is their focus. Biology is the study of all living organisms. From the microscopic cilia on a bacterial cell to the 25-foot-wide tail of a blue whale. Health science, on other hand, narrows its scope to human health and well-being.

Biology provides the foundation for understanding the human body at a scientific level. Health science then uses that structural knowledge to improve human health outcomes holistically. A biology degree includes exploration into core areas like cell structure, ecology, and genetics, as well as subfields like zoology, botany, or microbiology. Health science degrees cover human anatomy and physiology, nutrition, public health, and health care systems. You might also explore specific areas like informatics, health policy, or health care administration.

What Can You Do with a Health Sciences Degree?

Is a health sciences degree right for you? At the associate, bachelor’s, or graduate level, a degree in health sciences is a great choice for someone who wants to make a positive difference in the lives of others and wants a wide range of career options. Some common jobs for health sciences graduates include:

  • Direct care: In these roles, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, medical assistants, and paramedics, you affect a patient’s health on an individual level.
  • Health care administration: This career path focuses on the business and management side of health care and includes areas like hospital administration, health care IT, or public health administration.
  • Research: If you enjoy research and data, jobs in health informatics and public health policy help governments and health care systems recognize patterns and make better decisions.
  • Public health: Making a difference in the health of communities, a public health career could include working as a health educator, as a health program coordinator, or in health communication.

The specific career that’s right for you will depend on your interests, skills, and any further education you pursue. A BS in Health Sciences is also an excellent starting point to higher education either in the health sciences or in scientific or medical fields.

As the character of Dr. Ian Malcolm said in the movie Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” And whether your interests lie in paleontology or epidemiology, the fields of biology or health science have an education path for you to pursue.